Restored aluminium Gullwing receives Mercedes-Benz stamp of approval

Restored aluminium Gullwing receives Mercedes-Benz stamp of approval

MERC_300SLgroup-116A rare aluminium bodied 1956 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing has received the Mercedes-Benz stamp of approval after a thorough and detailed restoration by it’s New Zealand owner says the local distributor.

Following inspection and due diligence from the Mercedes-Benz Classic Centre and Archive, the restored 300 SL Gullwing has been presented with a certificate of authenticity or ‘expertise’, verifying its identity.

It is number 27 of just 29 aluminium bodied vehicles in existence, and was first displayed to the public, since its restoration, at the Ellerslie Intermarque Concours d’Elegance in which it won the Master Class Event for the best vehicle in show.

Mercedes-Benz Cars New Zealand general manager Ben Giffin says the vehicle’s owner has shown dedication and attention to detail throughout the restoration process of this rare vehicle, considering that it was first purchased in an abandoned and distressed state.

“After years of reconditioning, the car has been restored to a condition befitting this iconic model and is a credit to the owner,” says Giffin.

The vehicle bears its original paint and upholstery combination of Elfenbein (Elephant Ivory) with a tartan plaid interior consisting predominantly of red and green, and is the only one of the 29 alloy bodied 300 SL Gullwings to display these colours.

Original files indicate that the vehicle was first delivered on the 31st January, 1956 with the destination being Mercedes-Benz London, England.

Fitted with a 3.0 litre, 6 cylinder engine, the 300 SL Gullwing and the W198 model series were the first Mercedes-Benz production vehicles to be fitted with a mechanically controlled direct-injection engine, which delivered 158 kW and a top speed of up to 250 km/h.

Denoted model series ‘198.043’ – for the 29 aluminium bodied 300 SL Gullwings – all of the body panels including the welded body shell were aluminum, and with the exception of the windscreen, lightweight plastic materials were used in the windows.

The aluminium bodied 300 SL Gullwings were 130 kilograms lighter than the standard steel models, and targeted customers with aspirations for motorsport performance.

More than 1,400 steel and aluminium 300 SL Gullwing coupés were built between 1954 and 1957.

The timing of this restoration also coincides with the 60th anniversary of Sir Stirling Moss and co-driver Denis Jenkinson’s famous victory at the 1955 Mille Miglia in a Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR (W 196 S). The pairing set the best ever time achieved in the Italian 1000-mile race: 10:07:48 hours, equivalent to an average speed of 157.65 km/h.

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